Saldana Holds Off Schatz At I-80
GREENWOOD, Neb. — From the front row, Joey Saldana jumped out to an early lead and held off challenges from Donny Schatz and Paul McMahan to win the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars’ NAPA Auto Parts Outlaw Showdown at I-80 Speedway Friday night.
Despite the fact that the Outlaws have not raced at I-80 in more than a decade, Saldana, who led all 30 laps of the race, said the track drove much like he expected it to.
“I’ve watched races on YouTube,” Saldana said. “It didn’t race any different top, bottom – if you got a run on the bottom you had to hit your marks — just a great track. This is a perfect track for 410 sprint cars… I’m glad everyone supported it… hopefully this is a testament of things to come.”
Early on in the NAPA Auto Parts Outlaw Showdown at I-80 Saldana faced a strong challenge from McMahan. As the race progressed and Schatz got around McMahan, it was Schatz who looked to reel Saldana in.
“I don’t know if I had the best car but I definitely had track position,” Saldana said. “I could move around and I think that one lapped car helped me block the 51 or the 15.”
Saldana said this was a really special win for him personally because the last time the Outlaws raced at the track in 2003 was one of the last times his grandfather watched Saldana race before his grandfather died. It is also close to home for his parents and sisters.